Friday 16 May 2014

Arroyo Marin, Salina's pools, and Laguna Chica, Malaga Province.

A day of woodlands and wetlands with Helen and Paul.
Day two.

Helen and Paul at Laguna Chica.

We started the day by driving over to the wooded valley of the Arroyo Marin, we made several stops along the way but started off in the Oaks near the start about 500 meters from the road. Here we were greeted by the wonderful song from several Nightingales (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Blackcaps (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala).
Lulworth Skipper (Thymelicus acteon).
We soon started to find insects as well as this was the main aim of the day which included several Bee, Beetle, Shield Bug and Hooverfly species. Some that I could put a name to included Copper Demoiselle (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis), several female Common Blue Damselflies (Enallagma cyathinerum) of varying ages, Lulworth Skipper (Thymelicus acteon), Small White (Artogeia rapae), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) and Seven-spot ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata).
We spent quite a long time working our way around a nice flowery meadow before moving all the way down to the far end of the valley and parking by the last bridge and walking out to the picnic areas that were badly damaged in the floods of a couple of winters ago.
Ventocoris rusticus.
Here we saw Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla).
Bryony Bee (Andrena florea).
On the insect front we had good views of Bryony Bee (Andrena florea), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina), Southern Gatekeeper (Pyronia cecilia) and Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe). Helen also found a very interesting pair of Shield Bugs Ventocoris rusticus, which I have just managed to get a name for with help from experts at the Sociedad Andaluza de Entomologia as well as Eurydema ventralis and Carpocoris mediterraneus.
Long-horned Bee Species.
We moved back up the river next and parked by the concrete bridge where we walked along the road checking the many bushes and plants for more insects, we found Spanish Gatekeeper (Pyronia bathsheba), Black-eyed Blue (Glaucopsyche melanops), Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea) and Swallowtail (Papilio machaon). 
Also seen in the same are were Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Blue Tits (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major) and heard Wryneck (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla) and Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes).
Carpocoris mediterraneus.
Our next stop was for lunch and then onwards to a small pool near Salinas where we had several more Dragonfly species including Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), Broad Scarlet (Crocothemis erythraea), Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum), Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum), Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii), Dainty Damselfly (Coenagrion scitulum) and more Common Blue's.
Other species seen here and in the nearby ditches included Viperine Snake (Culebra Viperina / Natrix maura), Iberian Water Frog (Rana Común / Rana Perezi), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) and several individuals of a Long-horned Bee Species.
Dainty Damselfly (Coenagrion scitulum).
We moved on again, this time to Laguna Chica where again we were mainly looking for Dragon and Damselflies but we saw much the same species as at Salinas and only added Blue-eye / Goblet-marked Damselfly (Erythromma lindenii).
There were a few species of bird out on the lake and around the margins including Little  (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and Great Crested Grebes (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen, Golden Oriole, European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata) and Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica). We spent a good couple of house at the site before heading back to the house.

Thanks to Helen and Paul for the two very interesting day, I learnt a lot and look forwad to your weeks visit in July 2015.

Thursday 15 May 2014

Sierra de Loja and Venta de Raya Valley, Granada Province.

A day on the hill and surrounding areas with Helen and Paul Brock entomologists from the New Forest in the UK.
Day one.

Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes).
Helen and Paul had arrived yesterday from Guacin on the train and after a nights rest we went through the Moth trap which I had set up on the patio out side there room. There was nothing very special in it but we did have a few species including 1655 (0720) Ethmia bipunctella, 7581 Gnopharmia stevenaria, 8904 (2460) Dysgonia algira (Passenger), 8965 (2465) Tyta luctuosa (The Four-spotted), 9100 (2415) Acontia lucida (Pale Shoulder), 9380 Chazaria incarnata, 9140 (2407) Eublemma ostrina (Purple Marbled), 9425 Caradrina proxima and a few others.
Southern Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus boeticus).
After sorting out the trap we headed off up Sierra de Loja and our first stop was at the bottom of the small quarry track where we parked and walked up to the quarry. Almost straight away we found our first of many Southern (Pyronia cecilia) and Spanish Gatekeepers (Pyronia bathsheba), along with a couple of False Ilex (Satyrium esculi) and a single Blue Spotted Hairstreak (Satyrium spini), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Mallow Skipper (Carcharodus alceae), a very well behaved Red-underwing Skipper (Spialia sertorius) and Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas).
Paul in action with the Cardinal Fritillary.
There was a lot of other insects seen but I am still working on giving them names. Birds included Sardinian (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) and Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki).
Plant life was also seen Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalia), Rabbits bread (Andryala integrifolia), Rampion Bellflower (Campanular rapunculus), Mediterranean Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria), Centaurea boissieri, Navel-wort (Omphalodes commutata) and Purple Bugloss (Echium plantagineum).
Red-underwing Skipper (Spialia sertorius).
We moved on up along the crags and made a stop just round the top corner and started to try and get some photographs of the very flighty Spanish Marbled Whites (Melanargia ines) that were zipping around between the Thapsia villosa plants and the rocks.
We eventually admitted defeat but not before we saw a great selection of other insects including Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus), Panoptes Blue (Pseudophilotes panoptes), Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe), a very nice Long-horn Beetle species and a Robberfly with a beetle in it grasp.
We moved on making our way straight out to Charca del Negra where we gave the area a really good checking over, again we had some more insect species along with Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae), Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea) and Spanish Brown Argus (Aricia cramera).
Robberfly sp and prey.
Whilst we walked around the site we recorded Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica) and Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius).
On Charca it's self we had views of a male Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) and a male Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum) which was the first time I had seen this species at the pool. Whilst we watched the Dragons we also saw several Sharp-ribbed  Salamanders (Pleurodeles waltl) come up to breath. We moved a short distance further along the track and checked out the Goat Cave where we saw Blue-rock Thrush, Black Redstart, Wall Brown and Small Copper again before turning around and heading a short way back down the hill to a roadside dell where we spent quite a while getting photographs, these included some nice ones of a beautiful female Cardinal Fritillary (Pandora / argynnis Pandora) which was one of Paul and Helen's main target species.
Long-horn Beetle species.
In the same area we also got lucky with the Spanish Marbled Whites and several other species including Knapweed Fritillary, Southern Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus boeticus) and more Spanish Festoons, Common / Southern Blue, Small Copper, Spanish Brown Argus and Red-underwing Skippers. Birds several House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and more Black-eared Wheatears.
Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina).
We continued on down and stopped by the large Marble Blocks on the roadside where we again had good views of the Spanish Marbled Whites, Panoptes Blue, Mallow Skipper, Small Copper and added Sage Skipper (Muschampia proto) plus a couple of Red-billed Choughs and several Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus). 
We dropped down off the mountain and had a run along the road between Venta Del Raya and Zafarraya where we stopped and spent the afternoon wandering around a large area of Oak woodland seeing Lots more species including Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes), Adonis Blue (Lysandra bellargus), Small White (Artogeia rapae), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina), Spanish Festoon, Spanish Marbled White, Southern Brown Argus, Clouded Yellow and Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris).
Cardinal Fritillary (Pandora / argynnis Pandora).
We also had Lange's Orchid (Orchis langei), Southern Early Purple Orchid (Chupaeros / Orchis olbiensis), Lizard Orchid (Himantoglosum hircinum), Owlfly (Libelloides coccajus), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla) and Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator).
Adonis Blue (Lysandra bellargus).
We then headed back up to the house, I have listed only the species that I have named but we saw a great many insects that were new to me and will still need to be named.

Tuesday 13 May 2014

Sierra de Loja, Granada Province.

A walk around the Turbines and Crags.

Sharp-ribbed Salamander (Pleurodeles waltl).
A small group of 6 met at Charca del Negra for a short walk around the higher parts of Sierra de Loja. We started off by checking the area around the pools and soon had good views of Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis), Black-eared Wheatears (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica), Red-billed Choughs (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) and Rock Sparrows (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia).
The Group - Roger
On the nearby cliffs we saw several species of wildflower clinging on in the cracks including Saxifraga Camposii, Mediterranean Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria), Snapdragon (Antirrhinum controversum), Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima) and Bitting Stonecrop (Sedum acre).
Western Dappled White (Euchloe crameri).
In the small pools we had views of several Sharp-ribbed Salamanders (Pleurodeles waltl) as they came up to breath and a patroling Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator). We continued on along the track around towards the Goat Cave taking in some of the fantastic views and seeing Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Crested (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) and Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros).
Erodium cheilanthifolium.
There were also some new plants seen including Chickweed (Cerastium boissieri), Erodium cheilanthifolium, Blue Hedgehog Broom (Erinacea anthyllis), Buckler Mustard (Biscutella frutescens), Common Snapdragon (Antirrhinum major), Mediterranean Catchfly (Silene colorata), Ptilotrichum spinosum and Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum).
Saxifraga Camposii.
We moved up on to the top of a ridge and dropped down the opposite site back towards the main track adding Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata), Tawny Pipit (Bisbita campestre / Anthus campestris), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) along the way as well as Bath White (Pontia daplidice),  Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae), Western Dappled White (Euchloe crameri), Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina), Spanish Gatekeeper (Pyronia bathsheba), Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalia), Red Phlomis (Phlomis purpurea) and Upland Peony (Paeonia coriacea) before we returned to the car and dropped back down the hill.
Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae).

Monday 12 May 2014

Rio North of Malaga and Rio Grande, Malaga Province.

A few hours looking for Dragonflies and Birds.

Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis).
Jayne wanted to have a wander around the centre of Malaga so I dropped her off and headed a little way North to check out a couple of rivers I had visited last year with Steve Jones from the UK. The spot I visited was completly dry near the point where I parked but I decided to have a walk upstream and see what happened, after about 500 meters there was a small trickle of water which grew to a small stream by the time I reached the KM mark.
Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator).
As I walked along the first stretch I recorded Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) and Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos).
Squacco Heron (Garcilla Cangrejera / Ardeola ralloides).
Once there was a decent amount of water and things had warmed up a bit I started to find a few Dragons, nothing very interesting but it was still nice to find a reasonable selection including Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), Broad Scarlet (Crocothemis erythraea), Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma), Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi) and Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii).
Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta).
My next stop was at the Rio Grande but was very disappointed to find the place looking more like a landfill rubbish dump after the weekend visitors had left masses of rubbish at the site.
Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus).
Anyway carring on I did get some nice views of Little (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta) and Western Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Squacco Heron (Garcilla Cangrejera / Ardeola ralloides), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Little Ringed plover, Common SandpiperEuropean Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) as well as a few more Epaulet Skimmers and Broad Scarlets before heading back to Malaga. 
Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus).